Big Gip sways back and forth, his moustache a-twitchin’. We’re mesmerized by this grotesque, shirtless hillbilly, with his dreadfully low-hanging shorts and mountainous belly. Oh God, make him go away! Since he’s our first opponent, though, he provides almost no challenge. A few one-two combos and uppercuts later, he’s on the mat and we’re on to the next crazy opponent.
Super KO Boxing 2 follows a formula that most gamers will recognize from the Nintendo Punch-Out series. Huge, beautifully animated (if sometimes disgustingly detailed) characters will loom large over your tiny boxer, the K.O. Kid. With a combination of body shots, head shots, dodges, blocks, and special uppercuts, you can wear down your opponent’s health and send the ref counting ten over their dizzied, spinning heads.
This series, which debuted on cellphones, is now coming to the iPhone with no new motion control, but plenty of graphical shine to make up for it. The build we played had us tapping our opponent to punch, but this does notably get in the way of the stellar graphics and animation, which also provide clues as to when your opponent is about to strike. So, we understand that an alternate control scheme, with buttons off to the side, is in the works.
It’s a good thing the controls are getting ironed out, because Super KO Boxing 2 has a knack for increasing the difficulty substantially as you progress through the rounds. An opponent like Big Gip is an easy target, but he’ll come back later (decked out in a Viking, police, and devil outfit) with renewed toughness. Overall, there are twelve different opponents in the game, some with multiple costumes and difficulties.
Another opponent we fought was 15 Cent, a blinged-out rapper that made his debut in the last KO Boxing Game. During the fight, you could see his crib in the background, decked out with giant speakers, a hot tub, and a massive portrait of himself with a tiger. His specialty punch is a backhand, or “bitch” slap.
The third opponent we saw is a huge, hairy caveman, still unnamed. Glu is actually holding a contest to name this character, which you can enter through their Facebook page.
Besides fighting tough guys like Big Gip and 15 Cent in the championship circuits, you can also unlock a special Challenge mode that has unusual requirements, like no dodging or blocking. Having played the previous games, we know that these let you really focus on the specific movement and attack patterns of each opponent, instead of mashing your fists into their face as fast as you can. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to try any challenge fights in the current version.
Super KO Boxing 2 also includes an endurance mode, where you face a string of opponents without regaining your health back, and a versus mode, where you can jump to any fighter you’ve already unlocked. With only one playable character (the KO Kid) and no multiplayer options, some might dismiss Super KO Boxing 2 as too narrowly focused. However, from our time in the ring, we think that this cartoony boxing game is coming along quite nicely. Look for it on the App Store in September.